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'Lagi na lang kami may unhealthy competition ng kapatid ko. What should I do to avoid this?'

Q: I always feel like I'm in a constant competition with my siblings. When it comes to our achievements in life, feel ko kailangan ko lagi i-prove yung worth ko. It's starting to affect my self-esteem and I'm uncomfortable with this kind of environment at home. How do I deal with my competitive family members?

I think it's pretty safe to say that as humans, it's common for us to always want more. We want to be happier, smarter, and richer—the list goes on. Whenever we take on a new hobby, we practice so that we can be ~the best~. In moments of failure, we learn from our mistakes so that we can do better again next time. And let's face it: It seems like we're always competing against someone, am I right? More often than not, these are people close to home, or people you grew up with. In fact, they can even be your siblings. So how exactly can you handle this situation? 

Cosmopolitan reached out to family psychologist Dr. Michele Alignay to address the reality of sibling rivalry—what it is, how it affects your relationship as family members, and how you can avoid it. Keep reading to know more.

Here are a few things you should know about sibling rivalry. 

It can be healthy and unhealthy.

According to Dr. Alignay, sibling rivalry is a common issue especially among Filipino family members. There's a major difference between healthy and unhealthy sibling competition, and it's important that you identify it. She shared, "If we are becoming a good person, [and] if we are becoming the best version of who we are because our siblings are actually supporting us, [then] that's healthy." Sibling competition is no longer healthy if the situation is "eating you up" or making you feel like a failure.

Sibling rivalry was started by your parents or even the people around you.

Yup, that's right. It's actually not your fault that you eventually ended up in this position. "Some people do not know any better so their tendency is to motivate us growing up by using another person as the benchmark for us to be better," Dr. Alignay admitted. You have to remember: Your siblings are NOT competition. They are family. At the end of the day, you don't want to be in a competition with anybody but yourself.

Do not compare.

One basic solution that Dr. Alignay suggested is to forgive the people who have hurt or compared you. You are in charge of your own life. You're responsible for the decisions that you make. Dr. Alignay reminded us by saying, "Recognize your uniqueness [and] your giftedness. We are not our siblings. You are you."

Watch the video to know more about how to deal with sibling rivalry.

Dr. Michele Alignay is a family psychologist, speaker, and author. She has an expertise in family life and personal growth and helps Filipino families nurture their relationships and well-being. You can check out her website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow her livestream, Coffee Break with Dr. Michele, via Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify.

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